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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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TAKE YOUR SINS TO CHRIST

40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. (Mark 1:40-42 ESV)

Jesus_healing_lepersLeprosy is a terrible disease in which the early symptoms are almost imperceptible and occur slowly. It may begin with a single small red dot on the skin which eventually multiplies into painless skin lesions over the entire body. One form destroys the nerve endings so that parts of the body lose the feelings of touch and pain. Pieces of the body begin to rot and drop off. This includes the ears, nose, fingers, toes, and other parts of the flesh. Leprosy also increases vulnerability to all kinds of infectious diseases.

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WHEN FORGIVENESS IS DIFFICULT

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15 ESV)

Have you ever been hurt by someone? When we are hurt, we often desire for the offender to suffer as we have. We call it “justice”. Yet, how often do we offend God or grieve the Holy Spirit by our addictions to various sins? Christians know the hunger for forgiveness when we sin. We pray for mercy for our transgressions, not justice.

How can we ask God for forgiveness when we fail to offer forgiveness to others? Paul writes:

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WHO IS A CHRISTIAN?

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9 ESV)

salvation jesusA Christian is someone who has been born again in Christ to eternal life and salvation. His sins have been pardoned and he is in a state of grace. He now desires to obey God in order to please Him and glorify Him. He has the Holy Spirit to strengthen his desire and ability to live out his obligation to Jesus Christ. The Christian seeks to live life sincerely before God and to walk worthy of Christ.

Authenticity is the path of Christian sanctification. A Christian is not perfect. A Christian’s good works are the result of God’s saving grace. Good works do not save anyone; they are the consequence of having been saved. Even faith is the gift of God. Christians still err, but they are grieved when they do. The Christian’s grief leads to repentance. Sincere repentance leads to God’s forgiveness. God is faithful and just to forgive sins and to cleanse the Christian from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 ESV) Continue reading

MAKING PEARLS

Pearl-oyster11Charles H. Spurgeon:

I wish, brothers and sisters, that we could all imitate “the pearl oyster”—A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. It cannot reject the evil, but what does it do but “cover” it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl! Oh, that we could do so with the provocations we receive from our fellow Christians, so that pearls of patience, gentleness, and forgiveness might be bred within us by that which otherwise would have harmed us.

 

 

THE REAL DEAL

Samuel A Cain“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1 ESV)

And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15 ESV)

Augustine wrote, “It is not the being seen of men that is wrong, but doing these things for the purpose of being seen of men. The problem with the hypocrite is his motivation. He does not want to be holy; he only wants to seem to be holy. He is more concerned with his reputation for righteousness than about actually becoming righteous. The approbation of men matters more to him than the approval of God.” As a Christian, do you seek to avoid this obvious hypocrisy in your own life?

The Apostle John teaches us that if we believe and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, we know that we abide in Christ and Christ in us. (1 John 3:24 ESV) We can believe and obey because God has given us His Holy Spirit. We may cast off the chain of sins and lies which made us hypocrites and be renewed after the image of our creator. (Colossians 3:7-10 ESV) We now live by faith in the Son of God. (Galatians 2:20 ESV) Continue reading

I THOUGHT ONCE …

I thought once I had no need of salvation,
To the depth of my sin I was blind.
The thought of my need for forgiveness
Was folly to my human mind.

Yet, God’s plan of election was for me,
His Spirit gave faith to my heart.
None of my works were considered,
If ever I had been so smart.

By grace I was saved from the darkness
And brought into His brilliant Light.
No ability had I to contribute
To the birth carried out by His Might!

God’s Love is no flash of emotion,
Eventually to dim and die out.
He will always be there to guide me,
To save me from the evil’s dark rout.

A blessed hope is now awaiting,
Jesus secured it on the Cross.
Salvation is there before me,
God’s sheep will never be lost.

Samuel at Gilgal

Pearls

pearl oysterCharles H. Spurgeon:

I wish, brothers and sisters, that we could all imitate “the pearl oyster”—A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. It cannot reject the evil, but what does it do but “cover” it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl! Oh, that we could do so with the provocations we receive from our fellow Christians, so that pearls of patience, gentleness, and forgiveness might be bred within us by that which otherwise would have harmed us.

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